Edmonton mayor apologizes for 'premature' gun registry comments

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson apologized on Tuesday for his speculation that the loss of the long-gun registry could have played a part in the shooting death of a city police officer.

Don Iveson had suggested link between end of registry and shooting death of Const. Daniel Woodall

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson cries while expressing his condolences over Const. Daniel Woodall's death, during a news conference on Tuesday. (Amber Bracken/Canadian Press)

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson apologized on Tuesday for his speculation that the loss of the long-gun registry could have played a part in the shooting death of a city police officer. 

"Speculation about gun registry this morning was premature," Iveson said via Twitter. "Focus should remain our condolences & safety of [Edmonton Police Service] members & public. Apologies."

Earlier in the day, Iveson said the loss of the national long-gun registry "may be related" to the shooting that killed 35-year-old Const. Daniel Woodall on Monday.

"I think every opportunity our police have to have knowledge of firearms in this city would be to their advantage," Iveson added during a news conference. 

The federal government ended the registry in 2012 and said its records were destroyed later that year. The registry had required that all long-gun owners register with the government. 

Comments 'unhelpful', 'absurd'

Justice Minister Peter MacKay described the mayor's comments on the defunct gun registry as "ill timed," "unhelpful" and "absurd."

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, meanwhile, said no government has been tougher on gun crime than the Conservatives. Blaney said the Harper government over the last decade has done more than any other to create the most stringent laws against illegal gun possession and tough sentences for gun-related crimes.

Blaney was at a Senate committee today where a Conservative bill that aims to overhaul the rules around gun licensing and transportation is being rushed into law before the House of Commons breaks for the summer and a fall election.

He said the Harper government is working with the firearms community to strike a balance between what he calls streamlining firearms paperwork and ensuring public safety.

The minister said he was shocked by the tragedy in Edmonton, which he described as a cold-blooded murder.

With files from The Canadian Press


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